Holidays in Earl's Palace

Holiday Travel Guide
Earl\'s Palace showing building ruins, heritage elements and a castle

Take a tour of this impressive 17th-century ruin, considered to be among the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland.

With only a two-story section left standing, the Earl’s Palace lies mostly in ruins today, but it was once considered to be one of Scotland’s most remarkable Renaissance buildings. Discover the remnants of the palace’s beautiful entrance decorations and step inside to see its spectacular fireplace.

The palace was built in the early 17th century for Earl Patrick Stewart, son of the illegitimate brother of Mary Queen of Scots. The much-loathed Earl of Orkney and Shetland is said to have used slave labor in the construction of this building as well as his other residences. After the Earl’s execution in 1615, the palace became the residence of Orkney’s bishops before eventually falling into disuse in the 18th century. Visit here today and you’ll find just a small portion of the building still standing, consisting of two rectangular sections that together form an “L” shape.

Admire the palace’s ornately decorated front façade. Weather has eroded the soft stone used to create the façade’s adornments, but you can spot the faded remains of several heraldic panels. The palace’s roof slates were stripped and sold when the building was abandoned, and it remains roofless to this day.

View the ruins of the palace’s cellars, kitchen and well on the ground floor. A wide stone staircase leads up to the first floor, main apartments and great hall. The Earl’s apartment was set at the top end of the great hall, as far as possible from his guests and household officials, reflecting his obsession with security.

Don’t miss the great hall and its grand, 16-foot (5-meter) wide fireplace. This splendid room once featured high vaulted windows and intricately painted decorations.

Earl's Palace is located nearby Bishop’s Palace and St. Magnus Cathedral, a short walk from Kirkwall’s bus station. Admission includes entrance to Bishop’s Palace. Both buildings can also be visited using the Orkney Explorer Pass. The palace is open from April to September. Imagine how the building might have looked in its prime as you explore the ruins of this once stunning palace.

Top activities in Earl's Palace

190 Cheap Hotels Near Earl's Palace

The Ayre Hotel
The Ayre Hotel
3 out of 5
Ayre Road, \N, Kirkwall, Scotland
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$139 per night from 1 Jan. to 1 Jan.
Situated in Kirkwall, this hotel is steps away from Mainland and Orkney Wireless Museum. St. Magnus Cathedral and Orkney Museum are also within 10 minutes.
4.1/5 Very Good! (31 reviews)
"Great location. Good food."

Reviewed on 17 Sep. 2021

The Ayre Hotel
The Orkney Hotel
The Orkney Hotel
3 out of 5
40 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$196 per night from 4 Dec. to 4 Dec.
Located in the heart of Kirkwall, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Mainland, Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace. St. Magnus Cathedral and Scapa Distillery ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (19 reviews)
"Very convenient to everything in the city center"

Reviewed on 20 Aug. 2021

The Orkney Hotel
The Shore
The Shore
3 out of 5
Shore Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$148 per night from 4 Dec. to 4 Dec.
Located in the heart of Kirkwall, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Mainland and Orkney Wireless Museum. St. Magnus Cathedral and Orkney Museum are also ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (85 reviews)
"We stayed in the Shore hotel which is an annexe of the Kirkwall hotel. Rooms were clean and spacious."

Reviewed on 3 Jun. 2021

The Shore
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Holidays in Earl's Palace

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Top Earl's Palace Hotel & Accommodation Deals

The Ayre Hotel
The Ayre Hotel
3 out of 5
Ayre Road, \N, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$139 per night from 1 Jan. to 1 Jan.
The Ayre Hotel
The Orkney Hotel
The Orkney Hotel
3 out of 5
40 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$196 per night from 4 Dec. to 4 Dec.
The Orkney Hotel
The Shore
The Shore
3 out of 5
Shore Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$148 per night from 4 Dec. to 4 Dec.
The Shore
Albert Hotel
Albert Hotel
3 out of 5
Mounthoolie Lane, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$209 per night from 4 Dec. to 4 Dec.
Albert Hotel
Cosy, modern ground floor flat in central Kirkwall
Cosy, modern ground floor flat in central Kirkwall
86 Victoria St, Flat 1 Ground Floor, Kirkwall, SCT
Cosy, modern ground floor flat in central Kirkwall
St Ola Hotel
St Ola Hotel
3 out of 5
Harbour Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$148 per night from 4 Dec. to 4 Dec.
St Ola Hotel
West End Hotel
West End Hotel
3 out of 5
14 Main Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
West End Hotel
Ivyhouse - Flat1 -1-bed Apartment in Kirkwall
Ivyhouse - Flat1 -1-bed Apartment in Kirkwall
3 out of 5
Flat 1, Bridge Street, Kirkwall, Scotland
Ivyhouse - Flat1 -1-bed Apartment in Kirkwall
Heatherlea B&B
Heatherlea B&B
3.5 out of 5
Weyland Terrace, Kirkwall, Kirkwall, Scotland
The price is AU$149 per night from 14 Dec. to 14 Dec.
Heatherlea B&B
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.